Podtalk: Flabby Hoffman Opens Our Minds in The Extraordinarium

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CHICAGO – If Willy Wonka were a slightly rumpled middle-aged anarchist, he probably would be Richard “Flabby” Hoffman. The author, musician, broadcaster and philosopher has just added “retailer” to his resume, with his amazing pop culture store, modestly called “The Extraordinarium.” It re-opened this week at 2800 N. Milwaukee in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

I met Flabby several years ago, and made my first of many appearances on his Radio Extravagonza (detect a theme?), and the free form nature of his banter and show structure is a refreshing change from the rigidity I’ve since been accustomed to. One of his co-hosts once told me, “you’re a legitimate guest!” I wore that as a badge of dishonor.

Pure Extraordinarium: Some of the Store Offerings from Flabby Hoffman (center)
Photo credit: Patrick McDonald for HollywoodChicago.com

The Extraordinarium is a magical place, reflecting the man and his bounty of knowledge involving weird products. Taking a cue from Uncle Fun and many other pop culture tchotchke stores of Chicago’s past, the “E” store – in the hip neighborhood of Logan Square – encouragingly fulfills the need for finding gifts or gifts to yourself, Also, Flabby keeps his roots in radio and music alive, with two major performance spaces in the store (details of how performances will be done during the pandemic being worked out), a mini-golf course and a radio/podcast studio in the front of the space.

On the day of the store’s “re-opening” on July 14th, a process that included stops, starts and some health issues for Flabby, he proudly showed off the nooks and crannies of his offerings, where each shelf seemed to have something more appropriately outrageous. It’s truly the People’s Store.

In a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Flabby Hoffman talks about the roots of The Extraordinarium, his knack for finding the right thing at the right time and his unique pitch for the store.

The Extraordinarium is located at 2800 North Milwaukee Avenue, Logan Square, Chicago. The hours are 1pm-7pm, everyday. Every Saturday, Flabby Hoffman’s Radio Extravagonzo on que4(dot)com (1680am) will broadcast from the Extraordinarium from 1p-4:30p. Click here for details. Click here the Facebook page for The Extraordinarium. And finally, for all things Flabby Hoffman, visit FlabbyHoffman.com

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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